24 February 2016

Otres Beach, Cambodia

The tan might be starting to fade but the memories definitely aren't. Two weeks in Cambodia was my Christmas present to myself; it had been years in the offing but I finally got the logistics to work and spent the first half of February sunning myself in one of my favourite parts of the world.

After a pretty stressful journey out there (involving a lost Kindle and a lost purse containing my money and all my cards, a frantic call home, money wired halfway across the world and an 12 unexpected hours in Bangkok airport), I finally made it to Phnom Penh a day later than planned. A quick night's stop in the capital city then an early six hour bus to Sihanoukville.

I made a beeline to Otres Beach to meet up with a friend of mine who now calls Cambodia home. This chilled, palmed beach spans miles and is a haven from the bustling town you arrive in. Dumping my stuff at Sunshine Cafe and a bungalow right on the beach, it was time to settle in with an ice cold $1 beer and catch up.

I was lulled to sleep by the sound of the waves and greeted each morning by the Cafe's kittens.  The rest of the day was spent slipping into the quiet, serene and empty sea before settling on a lounger and reading for the rest of the day, fresh coconut to hand. Rinse and repeat, with the occasional $5 hour long massage before heading out for drinks and beach barbecues each night.

My entrepreneurial friends have set up two successful nights since moving to Cambodia five years ago. Saturday night is all about Otres Market (read the Vice article calling it 'Cambodia's most debauched night' about it here) - a creative collective of local stalls and food sellers combined with bands, DJs and flowing drinks in a vibrant part of Otres village.

The other night worth heading to is Kerfuffle on Wednesdays. Set deep in the heart of the jungle in a glade, it's a techno house haven complete with its very own ferris wheel to whisk you into the night. I had one of the best nights of my life dancing until dawn with pals old and new and it has firmly cemented that little spot in Sihanoukville as one of the best places on earth.

Put them both on your list and tell them I sent you.

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